Rotherham police officers return to a familiar beat

Two long-serving Police Community Support Officers are returning to the beat in Rotherham as police constables this week.

Monday, 2nd September 2019, 12:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 12:56 pm
Sarah Kelk and Ernest Mpundu served in Rotherham as PCSOs for 12 and 14 years respectively

Sarah Kelk and Ernest Mpundu served in Rotherham as Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) for 12 and 14 years respectively. Earlier this year, both decided to make the jump and apply to be a police officer.

This week marks their return to Rotherham, making them the first two South Yorkshire PCSOs to return to their old beat as PCs.

Both recruits have spoken of their love of being a PCSO – but wanting to do more to make a difference and instil lasting change.

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PC Mpundu said: “We’ve both been in our neighbourhoods for a long time and it sounds cheesy, but you become attached. You know the background, you know the people, and you know the problems.”

PC Kelk expanded: “As a PCSO, you become part of the community; that’s your job. You speak to vulnerable people every day and learn repeat offenders’ names off by heart, but it becomes frustrating when you can’t help someone enough to break a destructive cycle, or get them the support they desperately need because you simply don’t have the power.

“Becoming a PC, I’m most looking forward to being able to see jobs through to the end, without having to refer them on. Being a constable gives me the ability to do something differently so that once I solve a problem, it doesn’t come back.”

SYP’s biggest recruitment drive since 2008 is currently underway, with the aim to get more bobbies out on the beat.

Feedback from people across the county is that they want to see more police officers with powers to arrest criminals, impose conditions and put safeguarding in place to help society’s most vulnerable.

Both student officers described it as “the best feeling in the world” to be able to return to their neighbourhoods.

Chief Inspector for neighbourhoods in Rotherham, Paul Ferguson said: “With a combined service of 26 years, I’m thrilled to have PC Kelk and PC Mpundu back with us in Rotherham. The level of knowledge and experience they have is invaluable and they are a real asset to both their neighbourhoods.”